OWLS HEAD, Maine — Officials at the Knox County Regional Airport have worked out an agreement with the state for funding to finish the taxiway under construction.
Airport Manager Jeffrey Northgraves told the Knox County commissioners Wednesday the Maine Department of Transportation had agreed to a matching grant with the county to finish paving the taxiway.
Commissioners on Wednesday approved the matching grant of $200,100 from the Maine DOT.
“We looked at all the reasonable options,” Northgraves told commissioners Wednesday. “All of the options put the job off.
“If we’d waited another year, the cost definitely would go up,” he said.
He said for legal and practical reasons, the best move for the county was to get the job done as quickly as possible.
The contractor has agreed to complete the project provided the county comes up with $200,100, he said.
County money for the paving can come from surplus and capital reserve accounts, Northgraves said.
After recommending that the commissioners approve the grant, he said he would continue to pursue the Federal Aviation Administration for its obligation to complete the whole airport construction project of $4.3 million and restore the county’s share of the DOT grant.
Work on the project had stopped after escalation of prices for liquid asphalt had put contractors in a bind and complicated construction. Northgraves said that by Aug. 7 asphalt prices had risen in less than a month from $250 to $800 a ton, where the price remains today.
General contractor George C. Hall & Sons Inc. had asked the FAA for more money for fuel prices but was denied because an escalation clause was not built into the contract.
The Hall company and subcontractor Marriner Paving had said they would potentially go out of business if they continued to do the work at the current prices, and virtually stopped.
Northgraves unsuccessfully tried to get the FAA to back off from its stance.
The total airport project is 80 percent done, but the paving part is about 20 percent done, Northgraves said.